How do you make a land speed racing motorcycle go faster? Most madmen of the salt flats would either put in more horsepower, or maybe design some clever slipstreamer fairing.
Not the crew at White Motorcycle Concepts (WMC), though—instead of those two time-honoured tactics, they’ve put a massive hole through the centre of their motorcycle.
While the WEMC250EV electric land speed bike looks revolutionary, the idea is quite simple, really. WMC is taking advantage of the possibilities of electric motorcycle design to design a more aerodynamically efficient motorcycle. Instead of running air around the bike, they’re running it through the bike, providing a sort of Venturi effect. The company calls this “V-AIR” technology.
This achieves several major goals. First, the motorcycle has much less drag than a standard fairing. WMC says the V-AIR design can the motorcycle’s aerodynamic drag by as much as 69 percent, depending how extreme you want to design the system.
Second, it also provides considerable downforce on the front wheel, like the aerodynamic winglets you see on current GP machines and now superbikes—but, the V-AIR design has much less turbulence. This means better in-flight stability.
Third, because that front wheel is planted, WMC is able to stuff two 20-kW hub motors into the front wheel (the rear wheel is chain-driven, powered by two 30-kW motors centered in the chassis). Those two front wheel-mounted hub motors not only give the bike even more power, they also provide more potential for regenerative braking, which extends range, and should also add even more stability at speed.
It’s all very clever, and it’s easy to see why the moto industry as well as the British government (WMC is based in the UK) are all throwing money or other support at this tech company.
WMC is currently hoping to challenge electric motorcycle speed records in coming months; the WMC250EV is already going through testing on-track, and WMC expects it can beat current battery bike speed records, if things go according to plan. If it does so, the WMC250EV will be considerably less powerful than the Voxan Wattman, which currently sits atop the electric motorcycle land speed records. The WMC bike gets its speed through mind-over-muscle, and could spark a revolution in bike design, if its concepts prove to be sound. All electric motorcycle manufacturers are exploring ideas for the future, and WMC’s radical design might be the right idea at the right time.